What We Need To Know
• A number of leading experts on ethics and corruption called on the U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees federal contracts, to cancel the Trump Organization’s lease to operate the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Hotel is located in a building owned by the federal government. The rioters outside the building say “the president shouldn’t make money from a federal contract.”
• The ruling from the G.S.A. was that the president was “in full compliance” with the contract.
• The G.S.A. contract with Trump includes language saying that “no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”
• Trump was a private citizen on the day he signed the deal with the G.S.A., he was not an elected official when he was admitted to the lease.
• In the Politico article, several lawyers agreed that this technical reading could allow the Trump Organization to sue the G.S.A. if it cancelled the contract.
• The G.S.A. abides by a large body of rules known as federal acquisitions regulations, or FAR. The rule.. is to avoid strictly any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest in Government-contractor relationships.
• The President oversees the G.S.A. The G.S.A. oversees one of the President’s newest high-profile commercial projects.
• President Trump owns the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which he placed his holdings after Election Day. He owns the company that employs his children, therefore he has the power to revoke that revocable trust at any time and reinstate himself, autonomously, as officer, director, and manager of the Trump Organization.
• If Trump Hotel is particularly successful and if corporate entities and foreign nations continue to book events at the hotel to help it remain successful, are we to believe that the president won’t look favorably on whoever helped deliver him profits?